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December 27, 2014 / 5 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘Zo Artzeinu’

How to Keep Shmitta – From Outside Israel

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

As Shmitta approaches (the final year of a seven-year cycle during which the Torah mandate that agricultural fields be left fallow), JewishPress.com interviews Shmuel Sackett, Founder of “Zo Artzeinu”, the organization that has planted more fruit trees in Israel than all others.

Q: What does Shmitta have to do with us? We live 6,000 miles away from Israel. A: The 613 mitzvot were given to Klal Yisroel and we need to keep as many of them as we can. Please read this interview, find out who we are and learn how Jews across the world can keep Shmitta – yes, even from 6,000 miles away! This is our third Shmitta cycle already and its a zechut (merit) to involve as many Jews as possible!

Q: OK, let’s start at the beginning. Please tell us about what your organization does. A: We started this project back in 1998 by helping Israeli farmers plant fruit trees. Unlike non-fruit bearing trees, the costs involved in fruit trees are enormous. The tree itself is quite expensive and lots of work needs to be done in order for the tree to grow and bear fruit. Highly sophisticated drip-irrigation systems are installed, fences are built and lots of manual labor in involved until the tree produces sweet fruit. Zo Artzeinu (This Is Our Land) helps farmers with the costs involved in planting these trees and so far, we have helped farmers plant over 50,000 new fruit trees in Israel!

Q: Who qualifies for the help provided by Zo Artzeinu? A: We are very careful when selecting our farmers. We insist that our farmers keep all the ” Mitzvos Ha’teluyos Ba’aratez” (Biblical Agricultural Laws) in a fully. This means no short cuts. We keep Shmitta strictly and all Mitzvot such as Orlah, Netta Revai, Leket, Shikcha, Pey’ah and Terumat. Ma’asrot are kept according to all Chumras – the highest standards of Jewish law. Only those farmers who agree to this – and we check to make sure – will receive funds to plant trees.

Q: We have all heard of the JNF. How do they differ from you? A: The JNF has done, and continues to do, wonderful work in Israel but we do something completely different. They do not plant fruit trees while we ONLY plant fruit trees. They do not insist on keeping the Halacho t (Biblical Laws) listed above and we do and we also insist on 100% Jewish labor only so that Jews can make a living from these trees and their fruits. The JNF is a great organization but not involved in any way with the things we do.

Q: Can people outside Israel actually keep Shmitta or is this a gimmick? A: This is 100% true – no gimmick at all. Before we began our project, we met with Rav Yosef Efrati, Rosh Yeshiva of Bais Medrash L’Halacha B’Hityashvut. Head of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Halacha for Agricultural Settlements. Rav Efrati, who was the personal assistant of Rav Elyashiv for 10 years, is considered the leading expert on Jewish agriculture laws and farming in Israel. All questions re: the land, pruning trees, grafting and more come to him for his expert decision. He told me directly that when a person – even outside of Israel – buys a fruit tree to be planted before Shmitta and all the Halachot (Jewish laws) are kept on that tree, then the person who paid for the tree actually shares in all the Mitzvos including Shmitta! He explained it is like a “Yissaschar – Zevulun” partnership where the farmer plants the tree which was purchased by someone in New York (for example) and BOTH have a share in the Mitzvah!

Q: How does it work? A: We set up a very simple website. Simply go to www.IsraelTrees.org and look for the tree form below. You can select the kind of fruit tree you want and how many trees you want to plant. It is very simple and easy to use . We will then mail you an “official certificate” with Your name on it showing Your partnership with a farmer in Isr ael who will keep Shmitta and ALL the mitzvos with your tree and it’s fruit. Just please hurry since the Shmitta planting deadline is THIS Monday!!! There’s no time to waste. The next time to do this Mitzvah will be in SEVEN YEARS!!!

Q: But why should I care about planting a tree, what does it have to do with me? A: As stated above Rav Eftrati said that buying a tree for a farmer to plant in Isr ael make you a partner in Shmitta and the other Mitzvos performed on the tree and it’s fruits, plus this is a way for you to fulfill MANY Biblical Mitzvas that simply can not be performed where you live. Also… Rav Chaim Kaniyefsy said “Bishviis Nigalin” We will be redeemed in the merit of Shmitta. Also… The Vlina Gaon wrote in his Sefarim, “If ONLY Hashem would grant me the Merit to plant a tree in Jerusalem then I can fulfill the Pasuk in Vayikra 19:23 “Vichi Savo El Ha’aretz Unetatem Kol Eitz Ma’achol” The Mitzva to plant a FRUIT tree in Israel Also… Non other than Moshe Rabeinu (Moses) Prayed hundreds of times to Enter Isr ael to perform these Mitzvot. He did not Pray to go surfing on the Tel Aviv Beach.

Q: Ok… Any other reasons? A: Well if Sharing in the many Biblical Mitzvo t and Torah sages from Moshe Rabenu till today wishing to do this Mitzva is not enough of a reason to help plant a fruit tree in Israel, the Tora says in Vayikra 25:20 “Vitzivisi Es Birchosi” which is an AMAZING PROMISE from Hashem, that he will Command or Ordain his Brocha on those who help keep Shmitta! We have merited to witness this MANY times over the years. You can read about some miraculous Shmita stories on our web site.

Q: Can we visit our trees when we come to Israel?
A: Absolutely! Just let me know when you are coming to Israel and I will take you to visit your trees! In a few years you will even be able to eat from the fruit, use the olive oil or drink the wine – depending on which tree you select. One of our vineyards produced wine that won the gold medal in an Israeli wine competition so the quality is fantastic. One of our farmers, Shmuel Rappaport is the grandson of Rav Moshe Feinstein and he makes the best quality olive oil in Eretz Yisr oel. Visiting these trees will be the highlight of your trip. Please go to our website: www.IsraelTrees.org plant your tree AND share in the Bracha today

Feiglin Warns Rabin’s Granddaughter She Faces Libel Suit

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

Newly-appointed Deputy Knesset Speaker Moshe Feiglin has warned one of former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin’s grandchildren that her remarks about him are grounds for libel.

Noa Rotman, after hearing that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu appointed Feiglin as of one several deputy speakers, wrote on Facebook, “Feiglin is the man who established Zu Artzeinu, the movement that was responsible or the incitement that brought democracy in Israel to a new low and brought about the murder of the Prime Minister of Israel.”

She added that the appointment left her with the feeling of a being outside her own country.

Feiglin wrote on Facebook Tuesday that Rotman’s logic also could be used to conclude that the “architects of the Oslo Accords are responsible for the murder of 2,000 Israelis been killed in post-Oslo terrorist attacks.”

He added, “I feel sorry for Rotman, but if she continues with this kind of approach, I will be forced to sue for libel.”

Jewish Destiny Or Iron Dome?

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

After the Pillar of Defense cease-fire, many now understand what we understood after the Zo Artzeinu demonstrations: The Israeli crisis is not on the continuum between Right and Left. It is on the continuum between Israelis and their Jewish identity.

We knew exactly where the Oslo Accords would lead. The huge amount of people who answered Zo Artzeinu’s calls and blocked traffic throughout the entire country understood the reality. Ultimately, we succeeded – against all odds – in electing the Right to rule. But Zo Artzeinu refused to “cash in” politically on the tremendous public credit that it had accrued. We understood that the Right also had no solution and that it was also incapable of getting off the Oslo track.

Many are angry with Prime Minister Netanyahu for signing the cease-fire. But Netanyahu’s predicament is a precise reflection of post-Oslo Israeli society. If Netanyahu had ordered a ground invasion of Gaza, soldiers would have been killed. After a short period of time he would have pulled the troops out of Gaza without significant achievements. After all, he had no intention of remaining. The retreat after many more fatalities would have ignited much more virulent criticism.

To remain in Gaza, we must first renounce the very essence of the idea of partitioning the land of Israel. We have to internalize that this is exclusively our land. We must, on a national scale, return to the land of Israel and to our Jewish identity. We must beg for the forgiveness of the Jews expelled from Gush Katif and rebuild their towns and villages with the forces that destroyed them – and bring them back to their rightful place with an honor guard.

We must vote with our feet, declaring to all that this is our land and proving to our enemies that this is not their land. Most important is that we must expel the Muslim waqf from the Temple Mount and restore exclusive Israeli sovereignty over the Mount – Judaism’s holiest site. We must encourage Jews to ascend the Temple Mount after the proper halachic preparations and to actualize their sovereignty over the beating heart of the Jewish nation.

If we do not take all these measures, there really is no reason to endanger our soldiers just so they can go into Gaza and retreat again. Every round of this type of fighting only proves the enemy’s claim that we are colonialist conquerors and not liberators of our own land. Security and pragmatic claims don’t convince the world anymore. The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial no longer does the work for us. It can’t be a replacement for the true justice of our cause. Just a short time after a hypothetical ground invasion of Gaza, international public opinion would come down squarely on the side that talks about justice – the very justice that we, with the cursed Oslo handshake, deposited into the hands of Yasir Arafat.

Is Israeli society ready for this type of return, the return to being ourselves?

Netanyahu expresses the dichotomy in Israeli society between the “Israeli” who wants to escape to “normalcy” by disengaging from the land of Israel and the “Jew” who wants to connect to his identity and national destiny – expressed by loyalty to the land of Israel.

Many will now try to escape this complex reality by voting for the rightist parties. If they are too successful, the result will be that the next government coalition will not be formed by Netanyahu and his allies, but instead by Shelly Yachimovich, Yair Lapid and Aryeh Deri. The political situation in Israel is also part of the same dichotomy. It expresses the same dead-end mentality – Oslo – that brought about the defeat.

The Israelis want the best of both worlds: security and normalcy. But it has become quite clear that it is specifically the mental servitude to Oslo, the flight from destiny to the enslavement to normalcy and pragmatism that has so severely compromised Israel’s security.

It turns out that it is actually the “delusional extremists,” the “propellers” (as Yitzhak Rabin derisively called those who opposed Oslo) who are the most realistic of all. It turns out that the choice that the Israelis are being forced to make is not between living under a bareheaded secularism or a kippah of observance. Their choice is between their Jewish destiny and living under an Iron Dome.

More About Ulpana Hill

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Those who read my book, Where There Are No Men, already know that no real struggle can be conducted by the Yesha Council. We understood that the hard way when we established the Zo Artzeinu movement, and we have since explained how we reached this conclusion in detail.

Nevertheless, during the Expulsion from Gush Katif, I abstained from publicly voicing my opinion on the Yesha Council. I hoped that perhaps I was mistaken, and in the face of the approaching struggle I did not want to create conflict. We did all that we could to organize a parallel struggle against the Expulsion – without entering into conflict with the Yesha Council. The organizers of our struggle, who established the Bayit Haleumi movement, sat in jail for many long months and were the object of contempt and castigation at the hands of Yesha establishment leaders.

The end of the Yesha Council’s “great struggle” against the Expulsion was the Kfar Maimon farce and the channeling of the young people’s anti-Expulsion energies into sobbing in the Gush Katif synagogues. Since then I have a guilty conscience over the fact that I, who had written a book on this very topic, didn’t warn everyone of the end that was already determined at the beginning of the struggle.

Approximately a month ago, we held marathon meetings with government ministers to convince them to vote in favor of the Regulation Law. After a few meetings, I began to once again smell the same old smell. I understood that the deals were all being struck in a different place – not inside the political system and not in the grassroots struggle. Once again, shadowy leaders were making deals behind the backs of the public.

I decided to publicize my view, doing so in two separate sector-based columns and in our weekly update. Apparently, the things I wrote touched upon the most sensitive nerves in the Yesha Council, which embarked on a campaign to restore its legitimacy. The sector’s media filled up with adoring articles about the Yesha Council, petitions supporting each other, mutual praise gatherings and, of course, a scathing attack on me and distortion of my words.

From the attacks it is clear that what bothers the Yesha establishment more than my opinion on the Ulpana Hill controversy is the fact that I am in the race for the Likud chairmanship. On the surface, there is no connection between the two and it is not clear why they are lumped together. If there is a political strategy that has aided the settlements from within the Likud, it is the fact that, as mentioned, I am running for the Likud chairmanship. This in turn has fostered mass registration for the Likud in Judea and Samaria, and has given the settlers political power inside the party. Without this move, it is questionable if the settlers would have received such generous proposals in exchange for a quiet evacuation.

In truth, though, those who cannot create an alternative always remain captive to the current leadership and will necessarily conduct themselves in the manner about which I warned. They are fighting for their positions as the arms-bearers of the existing leadership. Manhigut Yehudit is their downfall. It is inherently opposed to their very essence. When they lose the public’s confidence, they strike out at me – justifiably so.

The more faith-based leadership consciousness grows, the more the Yesha Council becomes extraneous. That is why they have opposed me, working tirelessly for Prime Minister Netanyahu in the previous and past elections for Likud head. They conducted an expensive campaign that encouraged Likud voters to stay home and not vote.

I do not retract what I wrote in my columns about the Yesha Council. My arguments were precise and it is important that they are in writing. But I would like to issue a clarification: On a personal level, I have absolutely nothing against those people currently attacking me. I value their dedication, I do not want to take away from their many merits, and I am friendly with some of them. The debate between us is on matters of essence, and those people who, even after Gush Katif and Kfar Maimon, still want to cling to the same methods and the same leaders have every right to do so.

I have no intention of getting sucked into a sectoral political debate. From the moment that the fate of Ulpana Hill was determined, I see no reason to continue to deal with the subject.

This Is Our Land!

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

The destruction of Jewish homes in the Land of Israel continues, as if there is no way to prevent the State of Israel from self-destructing, no way to prevent it from sending the riot police to carry out the goals of Peace Now.

But to judge by the number of people who showed up at the recent prayer gathering at Giv’at Asaf, another settlement slated for demolition, it looks like the faith-based public has despaired of its ability to stop the destruction. The common excuse is that people are tired of demonstrations or that they have lost faith in their effectiveness. But that is not correct. The public is willing to rally around ideals and vision. It is simply tired of a rearguard war.

The process of collapse and destruction that we have witnessed over the years is not the trademark of any particular government. Actually, every government that has been in power in Israel in the last generation, from both Right and Left, has been dragged in one way or another into the same modus operandi. The disintegration stems from the fact that Israelis today feel morally inferior to the Arabs.

The era in which the legitimacy for our presence in this land could be drawn from an ideology that denies the existence of the Creator is finished. The elites that fashion the Israeli mindset no longer believe that this is our land. They feel like uninvited guests here; they worship the “deep bond” between the Arab and the land and are painfully careful not to “desecrate” it. Whether an Arab home is legal or illegal, its destruction is unthinkable. Even the Arab olive harvest has become a sanctified ritual, and guarding it is the supreme mission of the IDF. It makes no difference that the olive trees are in the settlement of Itamar, right under the home of the Fogel orphans. It also makes no difference that the harvesters are part of the murderers’ family, whose smiles mock the Jewish residents of the town still reeling from the horrific massacre.

All of Israel’s leaders of the past generation represent the mentality that prefers to buy temporary legitimacy in Tel Aviv by dividing the Land of Israel. That is why the terrorists are jailed in such comfortable conditions. After all, they are actually freedom fighters, recognized by the Israeli mindset as the just side in the struggle over the Land. That is why it is simply a matter of time until they are released.

So now what do we do?

Lately, a lot of people have been invoking the memory of Zo Artzeinu, the successful protest movement from the Oslo era that eventually evolved into Manhigut Yehudit.

What was Zo Artzeinu’s secret? How is it that under the direction of a small and largely unknown movement, tens of thousands of Israelis protested in the streets and were willing to be arrested?

Many factors came together to bring the people out into the streets. There was leadership, independence from the establishment, and more. But the real, underlying reason why everybody remembers Zo Artzeinu is very simple: Its name means, “This is our Land.”

Sixteen years ago, the Israeli mindset was already sick with the moral inferiority flu. The audacity to declare that “This is our land” was engraved on its intimidated consciousness – and has remained there ever since.

The Land of Israel is ours. Not because a particular settlement was built on public land and not private land. It is ours simply because God gave it to us. Whoever tries to live side-by-side with the Israeli mindset that sees this country as Arab land will always find himself or herself on the wrong side of the law. But if our actions are guided by the conviction that this is our land, we will always be right.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/this-is-our-land/2011/11/24/

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